Overall, the hospitality industry is on pace for another positive year, with occupancy levels rising and revenue increasing. The catch for hoteliers is that occupancy and revenue haven’t recovered from the pandemic’s drag on the hospitality business. Nevertheless, the trajectory is positive; however, some hotel brands are faring better than others. So, what’s their secret as many others struggle to appeal to a smaller pool of travelers?
Increasing guest reservations is how they’re overcoming a less-than-stellar economic landscape. If you redefine the guest’s experience, travelers are more likely to choose your establishment over others that don’t offer anything new. That’s how you can increase hotel reservations moving forward, and here are five actions you can take today to impress travelers like never before.
1) Start personalizing the guest’s experience
If you look at the hospitality industry’s recovery in the context of a post-COVID world, there’s no denying that consumer attitudes, beliefs, and preferences have changed during the pandemic. The hospitality industry is experiencing the same headwinds as everyone else, adjusting to shifting consumer expectations. Hotel guests want to feel right at home during their stay, and hoteliers can capitalize on the demand.
Your guests will have a pleasant, memorable trip when they’re well informed from the moment they enter the hotel. Information should ideally be everywhere on hotel TVs, providing curated digital content, especially in the hotel room itself. Today’s smart hospitality TVs can display personalized welcome messages and reminders to give guests a sense of casual exclusivity.
After all, you don’t necessarily need luxurious amenities if that’s not your target market. You can fare better by offering upsells for premium entertainment packages, with classic family faves like Netflix and Disney+ embedded in the TV. It’s even better if guests can purchase the upgrade from smartphones through a digital concierge app. The challenge will be creating an ecosystem of tech to manage everything in one system, including personalized content on each television.
2) Ensure that cleanliness is of the highest quality
So, you can increase hotel reservations by personalizing the guest’s experience with new hotel technology products and services. But that’s only the start! You also have to ensure that cleanliness is of the highest quality and exceeds what the guest anticipated. Making sanitation stations visible near elevators, highly trafficked areas, or as people enter the room is an easy win.
Another strategy is to make cleanliness part of your hotel’s brand in general. Some brands are already promoting their renewed emphasis on cleanliness through marketing communications, which is a great idea. People who haven’t stayed at a hotel since the pandemic may not be aware of the redoubled efforts.
Also, ensure that everything is cleaned and properly labeled to put guests at ease. Hotel tech products like Clean Remotes may be an entirely new feature for some people, so you can introduce guests to a new tech they didn’t know was available. Either way, the idea is to make travelers feel like they’re entering a clean, pristine space. In other words, a space that’s safer from the risk of catching diseases. Across the board, consumers want to know that brands genuinely care about protecting their health and safety.
3) Upgrade and renovate rooms during the off-season
Another tried-and-true strategy to increase hotel reservations is to update and renovate rooms during the off-season. It’s something the hospitality business has always done well, but there’s a renewed sense of urgency nowadays as hoteliers try to outdo one another for a smaller market.
Take the time to step back and think about whether or not amenities add value to the guest’s stay. If guests aren’t using a particular smart device as much, consider going in a different direction this season. After all, not every technology gets widely adopted. Some techs will be popular for a time until a better tech makes them obsolete.
Successful hoteliers always understand guests’ needs and anticipate them before offering extra amenities. We’ve already touched upon the benefit of purchasing hotel technology products, yet the products you select must provide people with something unique. If you’re upgrading rooms by installing smart thermostats, why not upgrade all of the room’s devices too? It’s another easy win, especially if you can integrate everything well.
But one trend that’s catching on aside from new tech is the inclusion of workable kitchen amenities in hotel rooms. The idea is to offer a better alternative to an Airbnb booking and give guests a reasonable facsimile for a home kitchen. It’s a great way to kill two birds with one stone if a room is due for renovations. Add new paint and interior decoration, and you’re ready for a boost in reservations.
4) Use online booking and CRMs for follow-ups
The rule of thumb in sales and marketing is that it’s easier to make a sale to an existing customer than to a new one. That’s why customer relationship management (CRM) software for follow-ups and online booking is crucial. The hard part is coordinating a solid communications strategy with a marketing mix of emails, newsletters, text messages, and other strategic digital media.
Reach out to people to increase bookings. If you can keep your brand top of mind, guests will stay engaged longer and may return to your establishment sooner than you expect. Best of all, you can streamline it all by optimizing a CRM for lead generation and conversions. You can make further headway by enticing return guests with loyalty rewards and similar programs. Still, the hard part will be integrating this new tech into one hotel management system.
The tech on the backend has to be able to support the devices you face towards customers. You can have a successful rollout if you remember that the goal is to personalize and improve the guest’s experience, not just install new tech to install something new. The hotel tech products you choose must add genuine value to the guest’s stay, especially if they paid a premium for extra entertainment.
The downside is that CRMs require a lengthy implementation period to optimize everything, but once it’s over, the efficiency and automation this software provides are well worth the time. It all depends on how you want to handle online bookings because, with the right system, you can automate plenty of personalized information.
5) Empathize with the guest’s needs
Although it may be obvious, demonstrating empathy towards your guests will make a world of difference. Interactions with guests won’t always go 100 percent right. Miscommunications can happen in so many ways that it’s impossible to name them all. A guest may have a problem with their online booking confirmation or a payment dispute. The possibilities are endless, so when challenging moments come about, try to be human and show compassion.
When you’re the one who made a mistake, be honest and correct the issue quickly – and with a personal touch. Remember: not every guest wants low-contact customer service. Some will still enjoy a high-touch experience, so if you have an empathetic mindset, it’ll be easier to determine what guests want.
Without a doubt, the way hoteliers respond to adversity makes or breaks a guest’s stay. You can do everything exceptionally well for days but disappoint the guest with bad service during check out. Ultimately, a poor experience will influence their willingness to return and whether or not they recommend your hotel to others. People need to know that your brand has a face, a human touch that shows you genuinely care about them. Otherwise, hotel guests will simply choose to stay somewhere else the next time they travel to the area.
But overall, the good news is that hoteliers can take advantage of the hospitality industry’s resurgence. The trick is taking action to increase reservations and create a better guest experience all around.